Monday, March 19, 2007

Never Mind

I admit that I was suffering a mild infection by the whole two-aircraft-carriers-mean-war-with-Iran meme. Now, I am virus free.

The cure? Although there are two Carrier Strike Groups the the Gulf, the two Expeditionary Strike Groups assigned to the Fifth Fleet have their ships scattered. These ESGs are led by aircraft-carrier-like LPD's that can land, along with their accompanying vessels, thousands of marines supported by helicopter gunships. Unfortunately, one amphibious assault ship in the USS Boxer ESG is currently in the South China Sea. Elements from the USS Bataan ESG are currently participating in exercises with the Kenyan military.

Now, if I were going to launch a strike against a heavily defended country from within the confines of a narrow body of water, I would not allow critical assets to be sent as far away as the Pacific Ocean. I would be gathering them up like a clenched fist.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I Think Mike Shula Is Available

A White House spokesman had asserted that the President retains full confidence in the attorney general, Alberto Gonzales.

If Gonzales were a College Football Coach, he'd be cleaning out his office by next Thursday.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Sweet Charity

The Rev. Franklin Graham, as quoted by Katy Pownall, AP:

"I want to help people physically, I want to help them with their hurt, with their pain, but I want to do that so I can tell them about God's son, Jesus Christ. The conversion we do is through persuasion, through reasoning. ... They will receive material help from us regardless.''
Forget everything you have been told about Christian Love. There are Christians out there doing wonderful works out of a pure desire to help their fellow man, but the credit goes to Human Nature not the the influence of Religion. This quote exposes the twisted logic of evangelism which, starting with Paul, has lied, deceived, tricked and eventually tortured people into Believing. Another notch on the crucifix!

I remember an office mate (stop me if I have told this story before) who was involved with church affiliated youth home. She really cared for those children and worked tirelessly. One day, after enlisting some assistance (or was it a donation?) from another co-worker, she thanked him for his support. His reply floored me. He said, "Anything to stop another abortion." He didn't give a rat's ass about those abandoned and abused kids. There was no Love there. All he was interested in was scoring points with Jesus.

70-80% of the US population considers itself "Christian." Almost half of these are what George Barna calls Notional Christians - they like the idea of God and being Christian but it has no real impact on the way they live their lives. Fair enough. Intuitively, that feels right. He divides the rest into Born Agains and Evangelicals by what they claim to believe (Biblical accuracy, belief in Satan, etc) - as good a method as any, I suppose. The elite group is the Evangelicals at a mere 7% of those surveyed and adhering to the strictest set of beliefs. I am pretty sure that my Mr. Holier-Than-Thou, above, made the cut. My point here is that if Mr H-T-T represents the most "serious" group of believers , than it is time for sensible people to re-examine the special status we routinely grant Faith in our public discourse and start calling a spade a spade.

Alternatively, Mr Barna may be ideologically blinded and his precious little Evangelicals (along with the "Reverend" Franklin and "Saint" Paul) represent the group farthest away from what their Creator intended. If this is the case, all those Notional Christians were right all along in demonstrating that love and compassion do not require absolute adherence to the Nicene Creed. Of course, if that is the case, what exactly do we need Religion for?

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Defensive Posture

I found this in the free newsletter. The topic itself was Ballistic Missile Defense but this brief retrospective view provides some interesting perspective.

The second idea dovetails with long-standing U.S. strategic doctrine -- a philosophy that long predates the Cold War. That doctrine has always aimed to push threats away from the continental United States -- initially by securing U.S. sovereignty over the North American land mass, achieving strategic depth and controlling sea approaches. Ultimately, the doctrine calls for the United States to project power into Eurasia itself, establishing as much stand-off distance as possible. In the early 20th century, naval power allowed the United States to do this just fine. But in the early 21st century, with the proliferation of intercontinental ballistic missile technology, naval power is only one leg of such a strategy.